Words are changing. Some resist the waves, saying that the language is already inclusive and should not be messed with. No matter what we think. It is mutating. Young people are looking for ways to express themselves and if we don’t go with them we are just going to be left behind, obsolete, archaic, useless and, as it is happening as we speak, misunderstood.
The celebration of the Indigenous People’s Day in USA left me thinking about the treatment of our Aboriginal People of Australia. There is no secret that Aboriginal people in Australia have been discriminated against. Since the moment I arrived in Sydney I was saddened by the aboriginal elders selling their beautiful art in the middle of Circular Quay. For nothing. Performing for an avid public who gave no crap about them. Who thought they were clowns.
Italy has chosen her first prime Minister. It is not good news for feminism in Italy, and around the globe. Georgia Meloni. A far-right politician and journalist. Leader for more than eight years of Brothers of Italy, one of the most conservative parties. Involved in politics for nearly twenty. Always militating for the far-right, always instigating. A nationalist. A true warrior of ‘God, homeland and family’. Her win was implicated by the same patriarchal discourse.
I wanted to read this book for a long time. I considered it an ovation to feminism. It really is. Vivian Gornick’s feminists statements are the mix of a self-portrait of a woman who decided to live alone, and another who is looking for meaningful company. She has devoted to the type of feminism that was on furore on the 70s, the one that is not into marriage. This type of feminism that interlocks with spinsterhood is the life she has been living since then. Gornick loved to find sisterhood groups, full with intellectual-type ladies, dedicated to solve the problems of the everyday life for women. However, those groups always lost their momentum, and ended up melting again into the same cultural patterns they were fighting, alienating her all over again.
A lot of academics argue that if someone doesn’t know anything about a subject, the best thing to do is to keep quiet and let the experts handle the matter. I cannot disagree more. In cases that involve human rights violations the importance is not about the knowledge of the conflict, or even the politics, but the empathy towards the victims. I say this now because I was also part of that academic world, the political analysis, where a lot of arguments and conversations flew around, directed only to intellectuals, and not to the public, that was ultimately the one with the power to implement changes.
There is an unbalance between the scientific field and the literary field. The literary world has always been considered inferior. Maybe it is because its association with the feminine. But why are the sciences regarded as hard and masculine and the arts and the humanities regarded as soft and feminine? And within both the scientific world and the literary word, why are male scientist and writers preferred, more trusted, over women? And why if the literary world is considered a female science, writer women are always discriminated as less intelligent and less articulated than male writers? This is what Siri Hustvedt is good for. To spot the biases that go unnoticed to some of us. Hustvedt has accurately pointed to several misogynist aspects in the arts and the sciences.
Isabel Allende recounts her personal story. I felt like talking with a very good friend, having a pleasant conversation, those in which you put your heart and soul right there in the middle of the table for everyone to see. This is how Isabel Allende strings together all the facts and people that influenced her life, where her thoughts and feelings contradicted her way of life, and created great concern and anger between her parents and grandparents, because at that time, nobody dared to question the inequalities in Chile and much less the place of women in society. This did not sooth her, it did not silence her internal voice, on the contrary, with time everything fell on the right place until finally she found herself as a writer, a feminist and an activist. She reached a maturity in which she is now comfortable and happy. The author also takes a look at the new generations and their role in feminism and pays tribute to people who opened the door to the actual feminist movements.
This was a very special book for me. It came as a reflexion. Because I am Australian. And it should be so for all Australians. Because no matter our privileges and our proudness of being Australians, I see this as a black spot in that perfect style of life that is slowly growing to show us that maybe we are not who we think we are, and we don’t have what we think we have.
Gnozi Adichie writes a warm letter to one of her friends from childhood who asked her how could she educate her daughter to be a feminist. When I took a first look at the book, I though her arguments were clear and at some point a bit obvious. But I realized soon enough, with sadness, I must say, that not even this feminist statements have been embraced by the majority of societies and cultures because this world favours men. And this is still happening all around the world. What can we do to change this mentality?
Indifference causes as equal damage as racism. The bad guys are racist, the good guys are naïve and condescending. Black Lives Matter!!
Police brutality has always existed. But this movement really started with the death of George Floyd by police brutality and the consequent protests all over United States. So much cruelty against a human being shocked me. Not only because I saw black people being harassed, discriminated and murdered on the news, several times. But also because this time I made the exercise to look at my own experience, as a person with an Hispanic background, but regardless of this, as a person with privilege.